Did you recently get a credit card pre-approval offer? That’s just an invitation to apply for the credit card, it does not come with any guarantees. From time to time, a credit card issuer asks the credit bureau for a list of consumers who fit certain criteria, like those who have a certain credit score or have a certain number of accounts. If you meet the criteria, your name goes on the list and the credit card issuer sends you a pre-approval offer. This offer does not mean instant approval because a thorough credit check has not been conducted yet. When you apply, that’s when you will get a final decision.
Should I accept every credit card pre-approval offer?
The pre-approved credit card offer you receive may not be the best offer out there. Before you respond, go online to check the credit card’s most recent offers. You may find something better than the offer you received in the mail. You may find a better credit card with another credit card issuer.
Compare the credit cards you qualify for based on rewards, perks, interest rate, and fees.
How to Find Pre-Approved Credit Cards
If you haven’t received a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t qualify for one. Some credit card issuers make it easy to find out whether you’ve been pre-approved for a credit card. You’ll typically enter only your basic information – your name and last four digits of your social security number – to see which credit cards, if any, you may qualify for.
These pre-approval checks typically only do a soft pull on your credit report which means it won’t affect your credit score unless you ultimately decide to apply for the credit card. Here are card issuers you can check out;
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- Merrick Bank
- U.S. Bank
Proactively checking to see if you’re pre-approved for a credit card can save you the trouble of applying and getting rejected. This is important since new credit inquiries can affect your credit score and make it more difficult to get future applications approved.
Free Credit Scores After an Unfavorable Decision
If you’re denied for a pre-approved credit card (or any credit card) or you’re approved but for less favorable terms than you were offered because your credit score didn’t meet the criteria, the card issuer will send a free copy of your credit score used in the decision.
You may also be entitled to a free credit report if you’re denied because of information in your credit report. You’ll have 60 days to request this free credit report. This will help you discover what’s hurting your chances of being approved so you can work towards improving your credit score.
How to Stop Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
If you no longer want to receive pre-approved credit card offers, perhaps because you receive too many of them, you can limit the offers you receive by mail. Simply opt-out at optoutprescreen.com. You can opt-in again at the same website if you were previously opted-out.
The opting-out line will stop many pre-approved offers – the ones based on pre-screenings through the major credit bureaus. However, you may still receive offers from companies you already do business with or from companies who got your information from somewhere besides the credit bureaus.
You can still use the major credit card issuers’ online pre-approval tools to shop around for credit cards when you’re ready to apply for a new credit card.